Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Region Adds Jobs Fastest

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Region Adds Jobs Fastest

Article excerpt

NO. 1 IN U.S. IN AUGUST: 9,900 positions created, state's top economist says

The region consisting of Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton and North Port had the fastest job growth rate of any metropolitan area in the nation in August, the state's chief economist said Thursday.

The metro area added 9,900 jobs last month compared with a year ago, for growth of 3.9 percent. In all, the region had 263,300 jobs as of Aug. 31.

Statewide, employment grew by 202,500, to a total of 7,767,800, for a growth rate of 2.7 percent. Nationwide, by comparison, August saw 2.51 million jobs created, to 338,989,000 in all, a 1.8 percent growth rate.

"This month, Sarasota is at the top," Florida chief economist Rebecca Rust said following a presentation at the annual meeting of employment facilitator CareerSource Suncoast attended by 200 industry and governmental leaders at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club.

The report buoyed Bill Webster of Bradenton-based Bealls Inc., which operates 70 stores in Florida.

"The rate of job recovery in our region, as opposed to the state, being at the top of the list, that to me is the most exciting thing," said Webster, a Bealls spokesman and its director of government affairs.

"We depend on the prosperity of our region for our customer base," Webster said. "We can't look at retail as being separated. So what is good for the region is good for Bealls."

Online help-wanted ads, considered one of the best indicators of occupations in demand, show retail salespeople are the most highly sought-after in Southwest Florida, Rust said.

Registered nurses are the second most sought-after group regionally, followed by first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, customer service representatives, maintenance and repair workers, and heavy- equipment and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

Among the companies in the Sarasota-Manatee region that are placing the most online ads currently are Hospital Corp. …

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